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Debunked: Norway has not deported 1,600 people from Somalia

Irish social media users shared a meme featuring the claim.

THE NORWEGIAN DIRECTORATE of Immigration has contradicted claims that spread online which said the country had recently deported about 1,600 Somalians.

Instead, the figure for forced deportations to Somalia of 2023 was 21. The previous year it was 4.

“Norway deports 1,600 Somalis, why can’t we?” said a viral meme, which has been viewed thousands of times on TikTok.

The meme appears to refer to people from Somalia, also known as Somalians. However, Somali refers to an ethnic group that includes millions of people outside of Somalia.

“The Norwegian government decided that over 1,600 Somalians should leave as the situation back in their home country has improved,” the meme continues.

The image was also shared by Irish users on Facebook, including one who posted it with more than ten anti-immigrant hashtags, including references to the Kalgeri Plan conspiracy theory which claims that the EU is plotting to destroy white races through interbreeding so as to make them easier to control by Jewish elites.

The meme also claimed that “not very many politicians or media are speaking about this specific story”.

That is because it is not true: there have only been around 160 deportations since 2018, when Norway began revoking refugee status on foot of a request by the country’s justice ministry.

The figure was provided to The Journal directly by The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration, or Utlendingsdirektoratet (UDI).

It explained how, in 2016, it received instructions from Norway’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security to assess whether conditions in Somalia would enable the ministry to order the cessation of refugee status that Somalians had been granted.

“There had been an improvement in the situation in Somalia and the Ministry instructed the UDI to review cases from Somalia and assess if conditions in their home country had changed to such an extent that they no longer needed international protection. The review included more than 1,400 permits with refugee status,” the UDI said.

“Very few of these cases ended in cessation of their refugee status.”

As part of its statement, the UDI included total figures for forced returns to Somalia in each year since 2018. In total, there have been 163 forced returns.

However, the UDI cautioned that not all of these deportations were due to the review of refugee status.

“The returns can be Somalis who have been deported due to criminal offences, and there can also be people who had their applications for a residence permit rejected, but who did not leave Norway voluntarily,” it said.

The figure is about one-tenth of the figure cited in the meme, and therefore nowhere the 1,600 that was claimed.

The Journal’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here.